‘Abluka’ actor says character in film based on gorilla

Presenting the film in Bursa on Saturday as part of this year’s Festival on Wheels, the actor told a packed post-screening Q&A session that it took him around a year to prepare for the part.

“Abluka,” which premiered at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival in September, follows two estranged brothers (played by Ozgur and Berkay Ates), one of whom is recently released on parole after 20 years in prison, as they strive to survive amid a harsh environment of political violence in İstanbul. Ozgur plays the elder brother, Kadir, who is released from prison on condition that he agrees to work in a new intelligence unit posing as garbage collectors, in the dystopian drama.

“Abluka” is a story that “hits you like a ton of bricks,” Ozgur said as he answered questions from festival-goers at Sanat Mahal, a newly opened center for the performing arts in Bursa.

Turkey’s traveling art-house and independent film showcase Festival on Wheels is currently in the northwestern city for the second stop on its three-city itinerary for its 21st annual journey.

“Abluka” is among five films shown in the festival’s “Turkey 2015” section, in which each movie’s cast and crew attend the screening and then discuss their film with the audience after the showing.

“There are highly unparalleled undertones of humor in Emin Alper’s writing,” Ozgur said about the film’s screenplay, adding, “This aspect of his writing helps me, as an actor, jump right into the script and start to inhabit that [universe].”

About his process of preparing for the role of Kadir in “Abluka,” Ozgur explained that he often observes animals in nature and their behaviors to understand basic human behavior. “I start [observing emotion and behavior] from the simplest unit, the animal,” he said. “The man you watch in ‘Abluka’ is actually [based on the behavioral pattern of] a gorilla,” said Ozgur.

“As I move toward the human [character] I gradually develop and widen the range of emotions to portray,” he explained. “Towards the end [of preparation], I totally transformed into Kadir, which is another technique I often use,” Ozgur said.

“In films like ‘Abluka’ the actor needs to be ‘that person’ if he or she wants to portray real emotions. That’s how you’ll convince the viewer,” he added.

The 21st Festival on Wheels continues until Monday evening in Bursa. The festival will then travel to Kastamonu on Dec. 9 and 10.